Blue Knights draw back from their bid for Rangers as surprise group rides into view

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The Blue Knights have issued Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps with a stark warning that time has almost run out to save the club after they withdrew their own bid yesterday.

Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy and former Ibrox director Paul Murray, who has fronted the consortium, had issued a noon ultimatum to Duff and Phelps.

Administrators said discussions with two bidding parties are at “a very advanced stage” after American tycoon Bill Miller withdrew his offer within days of being named preferred bidder. The Blue Knights’ bid – which they valued at £11million – involved exiting administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). They fear it is now too late for a CVA to be agreed and say a newco option, favoured by Miller, is simply not financially viable. Kennedy said: “It’s too late. This is not some clever brinkmanship. The newco, which is the easiest option in terms of deliverability, we believe is financially so difficult and has a range of other football issues.

“Unless Duff and Phelps have got a plan that I haven’t seen so far, then I think we are in a real crisis.” Kennedy also expressed surprise at the emergence of new bidders this week in the wake of Miller’s withdrawal, with reports claiming former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green is involved with one of the groups.

He said: “I think we are all surprised, aren’t we? Suddenly these guys pop up from nowhere. Where have they been for the last three months?”

Meanwhile, Ticketus have formally launched legal action against Craig Whyte over money owed to them by administration-hit Rangers. Ticketus are owed £26.7m according to a report by administrators.